Home scratches at her shingles with tree branch fingers, pulls the air conditioning unit close to her grimy aluminum siding, and keens an empty song of mourning. We found her wandering the tornado snarled wild three months ago, starved and lonely. She doesn’t know how to take care of herself, you see? We fed her shards of dining room tables, kindling for the fireplace, and cast iron bathtubs clawed feet first. She was slow to recover so we gutted her plumbing, ripped out her nerves, and rewired the electricity. She let the water in every time it rained so we put a new roof on her and let her out for regular walks around the wolf pen. Let her mingle with the vultures, I said, let her feel useful and clean up the dead but no one wanted to listen. We found rot an mold in her corners, infused her insulation with antibiotics, and quarantined her for two weeks while she belched ladderback chairs, sofa cushions, wind chimes, and broken bookcases. She still has her bad days. After feeding time Home likes to sit back, porch facing east and picture window facing west; Home sits and watches the setting sun and then sits for hours in the dark waiting for the sun to come back up. She shakes every time the tornadoes come through. She has bad memories when it rains. But sometimes she hitches up her porch and hops from one puddle to another, dancing in the humid air.
Jessa Forest writes poetry and dark fiction. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks and The Slaughter Chronicles, a grimdark, Lovecraftian-esque paranormal fantasy about werewolves. Her stories question the definable borders of reality and indulge in the gritty, gory sides of fantasy and horror. She was born in Arkansas, USA.